Presented by the United States P.R.E. Association
Wellington, FL - Highest scoring American Dressage rider James Koford rode Pharaoh (by Olympic Ferro) to second place finish in the Freestyle under the lights at the $50,000 Global Dressage Festival's Florida Dressage Classic CDI-W presented by the United States P.R.E. Association with a score of 73.450%. Koford was thrilled with his finish which scored 73.450% on the 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood by Olympic Ferro owned by Hannah Holland Shook, because he hopes to use the prize money from this competition and his victory in the freestyle at the first GDF to pay for World Cup Final expenses, should he receive an invitation. "The prize money here and at the last show makes it possible to go to the World Cup in Holland. It's like it fell out of the sky," said Koford. "My horse was not spooky, but I did feel him a little insecure in the ring, which is an unusual feeling. It was great practice because I haven't ridden him in conditions like this.
I am really pleased with the ride." Koford who also competes Shirley McQuillan's Rhett, has been focused on The Elite USEF High Performance training sessions sponsored by Betsy Juliano with USEF Team Technical Advisor Anne Gribbons and US Olympian Steffen Peters. Koford credits the support the clinics have been to the development and training of his two high performance mounts. "I can tell you this has been invaluable to me and the horses. I have been fortunate to have not only been invited, but to have been able to attend all the clinics held on the East Coast."
Gribbons who is always close by does not miss a step of any of the High Performance riders is excited about Koford's progress and growth in the Grand Prix arena. " Jim is a perfect example of how this program is working," Gribbons said. "He is not able to have a full time coach like other riders, and he has taken advantage of every opportunity created for him, by participating in all the Elite training sessions, meant strictly for the American Athletes being looked at for the 2014 Olympic Dressage Team."
Riding to the entertaining and fitting freestyle music from the Zorro movie, created for Koford and Pharaoh by Tigger Montague and Spirit Horse Productions, Koford's was the only ride to get a standing ovation during the evening class held for the first time under the lights at the new facility developed by Equestrian Sport Production dedicated to Dressage.
Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven of Sweden captured her second victory of the weekend on Don Auriello the young 10-year-old Hannoverian gelding by Don Davidoff and owned by Lovsta Stuteri, at the in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle under the lights on Saturday. The nighttime atmosphere at the Global Dressage Festival (GDF) was filled with excitement for the world cup event that featured twelve entries from five different nations.
The electric atmosphere was great for the crowd, but it made things a little more difficult for Vilhelmson-Silfven who scored 76.350%. "I am super pleased," said Vilhelmson-Silfven. "He was a bit more tense here in the dark, but it was good practice for me. I had a better feeling with him today than yesterday. The facility has made a huge difference. It's very nice."
The International arena featured the FEI Intermediare I earlier in the day and Caroline Roffman took top honors scoring 69.158% with her horse Pie. Devon Kane was second on Destiny with a score of 68.947%. Roffman spoke of her strategy for the test.
"Today I rode with a little more pedal to the medal, which paid off I think in some ways and in other ways we had more mistakes," said Roffman. "This shows me that I need to ride a little more bravely. He's ready and knows everything. He was a very good boy. He showed me that he wants to be a show horse."